May 9, 2013
Arizona at UCLA - Game Notes | UCLA Baseball on Facebook
Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-ranked UCLA Baseball team (31-14, 14-7 Pac-12) will play its final home weekend series of the regular season, hosting the Arizona Wildcats (29-17, 10-11 Pac-12) from Friday, May 10 to Sunday, May 12 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Game times are 6 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, May 10 - 6 p.m.
ARIZ - James Farris, RHP, Jr. (4-4, 3.95)
UCLA - Adam Plutko, RHP, Jr. (6-2, 2.68)
Saturday, May 11 - 2 p.m.
ARIZ - Konner Wade, RHP, Jr. (4-5, 4.22)
UCLA - Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, Jr. (8-3, 1.84)
Sunday, May 12 - 1 p.m.
ARIZ - Tyler Crawford, LHP, So. (5-1, 3.92)
UCLA - Grant Watson, LHP, So. (5-3, 3.29)
All three of the UCLA/Arizona games this weekend will feature a live audio broadcast online, free of charge, at uclabruins.com. John Ramey and Tim Wilhelm will have the call live from Jackie Robinson Stadium. Fans can also follow all three games online through GameTracker, which provides pitch-by-pitch updates on uclabruins.com. Links can be found on the front page of uclabruins.com on the events calendar or on the 2013 UCLA Baseball schedule page.
UCLA VS. ARIZONA
The Bruins lead the all-time series, 121-114-2, while head coach John Savage holds a record of 14-11 against the Wildcats in his time at UCLA. Last season, the two teams met four times, with the Bruins taking two of three from Arizona in Tucson before the Wildcats defeated UCLA in the College World Series. The Bruins have won the last seven Pac-12 series against the Wildcats, with their last conference series loss to Arizona coming back in 2005.
UCLA's baseball program will honor two seniors (one of whom is a redshirt junior) before Sunday's game against the Wildcats. Senior Cody Regis and redshirt junior Ryan Deeter will be recognized for their contributions to the program as the Bruins play their final home Sunday game of the year. Regis has played in 213 career games, entering Friday's series opener having compiled a .271 batting average with 16 home runs and 123 RBI. Deeter has pitched in 61 games in his UCLA career, posting a 2.73 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
A LOOK AT THE PAC-12 RACE
With three conference series left on the schedule, the Bruins find themselves in third place in the standings, just 3.5 games behind Pac-12 leaders Oregon, who have played three more conference games than UCLA. The Bruins are three games behind Oregon State for second place in the conference and are currently two games ahead of Arizona State for third place. UCLA's remaing Pac-12 schedule includes road series at USC and Stanford and this weekend's home series vs. Arizona. The Bruins have finished among the top three in the Pac-12 Conference each of the last seven seasons (2006-2012), the only Pac-12 team to have done so.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Junior-right hander Adam Plutko will start the series opener for the Bruins on Friday night. Plutko owns a record of 6-2 entering this weekend's games, posting a 2.68 ERA in 12 starts this season. In his last five starts, Plutko is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Overall, Plutko has 58 strikeouts in 77.1 innings this season and has allowed hitters to bat just .205 against him, which is fifth-lowest in the Pac-12. He has also allowed just a .195 batting average to opponents in conference play. In his career, Plutko has been named to the All-Pac-12 team twice and in 2012, captured third-team All-America honors from Baseball America.
GAME TWO STARTER
Junior-right hander Nick Vander Tuig will take the mound in the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon. Vander Tuig enters this weekend 8-3 on the year and has been lights out so far, striking out a team-high 60 batters in 83.0 innings. Overall, Vander Tuig leads all UCLA starters with a 1.84 ERA and has walked just 11 batters all season, fifth-fewest in the Pac-12. His 1.84 ERA is also fifth-best in the conference and he has allowed just a .215 batting average against him while giving up 20 runs all season, sixth-fewest in the Pac-12. In his last four starts, Vander Tuig is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 25 strikeouts versus four walks. In Pac-12 play, he is 5-1 in seven starts with a 1.61 ERA, two complete games and 43 strikeouts to just seven walks.
CLOSING OUT THE SERIES
Sophomore left-hander Grant Watson will start Sunday's series finale for the Bruins. Watson, who owns a career record of 13-4 as a starter, is 5-3 on the season with a 3.29 ERA. He has surrendered just 11 walks thus far, good for fifth-fewest in the conference, and has struck out 40 batters in 65.2 innings pitched. In 2012, Watson set a UCLA record for wins by a freshman with nine and was rewarded with freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
After his record-setting freshman season in 2012, sophomore David Berg has continued to string together terrific performances out of the bullpen in 2013. Berg, a preseason All-American, currently leads the nation with a 0.67 ERA. He has allowed the fewest walks (6), runs (4) and hits (35) in the conference as well and is fourth in the nation in WHIP with a 0.77 mark. Berg has appeared in 33 games thus far (most in the Pac-12), posting a record of 6-0 with 12 saves and 55 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched. Additionally, Berg has allowed an opponent's batting average of just .187, the second-lowest opposing average in the Pac-12, and has not allowed a run in his last 27.1 innings of work. In 2012, Berg led the Pac-12 with a 1.46 ERA, appearing in 50 games, which was one appearance shy of the NCAA Division I record. Berg also earned freshman All-America honors from Baseball America in 2012.
STEADY AT SHORTSTOP
Junior shortstop Pat Valaika has been a steady presence in the middle of the lineup and a leader in the field this season. Valaika is tied for the team lead with 14 multi-hit games, 46 hits and is second to Kevin Kramer with five multi-RBI games. Additionally, Valaika enters this weekend leading the Bruins in home runs (4), RBI (33), total bases (73), doubles (13) and slugging percentage (.422, min. 70 ABs). He also enters this weekend having hit safely in seven of his last eight games and has reached base safely in his last 17 games. In the field, Valaika has anchored the defense at shortstop, leading the Bruins with 22 double plays turned while posting a .984 fielding percentage.
The Bruins are outscoring their opponents 85-55 through the first three innings. UCLA is also 24-3 on the year when they score first and 14-1 when they score in the first inning. In addition, UCLA has a record of 27-4 when they score three or more runs in a ballgame. In one-run games, the Bruins are an outstanding 12-1 on the season. They are also 25-0 when leading after seven innings and 25-0 when holding their opponent to three runs or fewer. Finally, when the Bruins out-hit their opponent they are 18-2 on the year.
UCLA's outfield pair of Eric Filia and Brian Carroll have led the Bruin offense to a recent surge in production. In his last 10 games, Filia is hitting .385 with nine runs, four doubles and five RBI, all while slugging .487 and posting an on-base percentage of .500. Filia also has six multi-hit games in his last 13 appearances. Carroll has been a catalyst at the top of the lineup all season, stealing 25 bases in 30 attempts, good for second-most in the conference and 16th-most in the country. Carroll's 25 stolen bases are also the second-most by a UCLA player in a single season since 1999. In addition, Carroll leads the team in runs scored (32) and has posted a high on-base percentage of .389.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Since the start of 2010, UCLA has gone 97-40 in all home contests, good for a .708 winning percentage. The Bruins have also gone 34-20 in conference home games since 2010. UCLA has logged five Pac-12 home sweeps in the last four years (2010 vs. USC; 2011 vs. Washington; 2012 vs. USC; 2013 vs. Washington, Utah) and six non-conference home sweeps (2010 vs. Nebraska, Oral Roberts, Cal Poly; 2011 vs. San Francisco; 2012 vs. Sacramento State; 2013 vs. Wright State). The Bruins are 20-9 at Jackie Robinson Stadium this season.
UCLA's pitchers have combined to post a team ERA of 2.72, which ranks second in the Pac-12 and is 14th-best nationally. The Bruins also rank fifth in the country with an overall WHIP of 1.09. UCLA's starting pitchers have posted a combined ERA of 2.87 in 45 games, striking out a total of 178 batters, while UCLA's bullpen has combined for a record of 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA. As a team, the Bruins have held opponents to just a .223 batting average against them, second-lowest in the Pac-12, and have allowed the fewest walks in the conference (120) and second-fewest runs (146).
Sophomore Kevin Kramer has been swinging a hot bat as of late, as he is 17 for his last 51 (.333 avg.) and has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games. The Turlock, Calif. native leads the team with a .412 on-base percentage and eight multi-RBI games. Kramer is also second on the team in RBI (29), total bases (65), home runs (2), runs scored (30) and batting average (.279). In addition, he leads the team with 25 walks and 13 hit by pitches (tied for the most in the Pac-12). As a team, UCLA is second in the Pac-12 in walks (204) and first in hit by pitches (65).
GOLD GLOVE DEFENSE
UCLA has been outstanding in the field this season, posting a team fielding percentage of .980, which is ranked sixth in the country and is tied for first in the Pac-12. The Bruins have committed only 36 errors thus far, the fewest in the conference. In 2012, UCLA's defense recorded a .976 fielding percentage, matching the second-highest mark in school history.
UCLA came in at No. 8 in the most recent Baseball America top-25 poll, marking the 30th consecutive week that the Bruins have been ranked in the top 25. The Bruins last dropped out of the poll on May 22, 2011. UCLA finished the 2012 season ranked No. 5 by Baseball America and reached No. 1 in the poll back on April 12, 2010. In the last three seasons, the Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 by Baseball America a total of 13 times.